Retrogenix was founded by Jim Freeth (ex-AstraZeneca) and Jo Soden (ex-Manchester University) in 2008. The company is developing and commercializing Cell Microarray technology which can determine which human proteins (of the ~20,000 currently known) pharmaceutical drugs interfere with.
The most important application of Retrogenix’s technology is that it can explain or predict toxic effects of drugs. Clinical trials can fail because drugs cause unexpected toxic effects or side effects, costing pharmaceutical companies up to hundreds of millions of pounds for one drug.
Jim and Jo entered the 2009 Venturefest competition where Neil and Mark were on the judging panel. Neil and Mark were very impressed with the Retrogenix presentation and maintained contact with them. Over the following months as they gained a better appreciation of the Retrogenix technology Neil and Mark became investors.
The Retrogenix business plan includes an initial 12 month development period where the unique technology is moved from research to a full commercial footing. Although essentially a highly technical period, Neil and Mark have been heavily involved in market research and development ensuring that the final product is closely aligned with customer needs and that potential customers are aware of the forthcoming service.
Although very early days, Jim Freeth already sees benefits:- “Jo and I are essentially scientists and one of the first things we did was to give Neil & Mark a science lesson! While we understand the huge benefits and possible applications of our technology, we are not familiar with the process of bringing our products to market. The potential is vast and with Neil’s and Mark’s business and marketing expertise we have identified the best initial opportunities and are concentrating our development efforts on meeting that need.”